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  • ladies hair care

    I was thinking about camping in bear country, and then I thought about ladies hair care products. I know for a fact that I wear strawberry smelling body wash and bubblegum scented hair product when I am at home. I use camp soap strips when I am camping.

    Can that nice smelling hair product make a difference when camping in bear country? What about deodorant? Other hygiene products? (stuff made for women can be very fruity and flowery.)

  • #2
    I guess it depends on the bears. Most around here might be drawn by the sent of berries, but not try to come near a "bush" that was mixed with the scent of sweaty human and no other food. (Bear bagging is necessary in most PA trails.). Keep in mind that most bears here contact humans via their garbage. If they sumell you, they will start looking for any food you left behind. Actually encountering a person is low on their bucket list. That said, neutral smelling stuff is usually preferable for other reasons. It's amazing how those scents can lead to skin irritation when combined with a days rugged walking and limited water for washing. So if your trip involves a lot of backpacking, you might want to think of limiting your soap collection to unscented body wash and baby shampoo.

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    • #3
      You answered your own question....simply go with no scent or unscented....... It just has to smell different to interest a bear doesn't matter if is strawberry scented or irish spring...... If your backpacking who cares what you smell like other than getting the grubby animal smell off or at least knocked down.



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      • #4
        One more note: most of us east of the Mississippi who hike in "bear country" rarely encounter one in the wild. (I have only once, and not until I was 47. That was after years years of coming across scat, tracks, and rubbings.) So, if you have the opportunity, go to the back-country. And, go frequently. Cache your food properly. Pay attention to any warnings/instructions rangers may post for the area you are camping in. Keep your eyes open (especially when picking berries, but my buddy startled that one off before I could see her)! Be with a buddy (just in case, for example, you are seated treating your blister while the bear you're destined to meet pops his head over the bank across the trail from you). And be grateful to the Almighty for the opportunity to be reminded of your place in creation!

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        • blw2
          blw2 commented
          Editing a comment
          I grew up hunting and in the woods East of the Mississippi. I too have seen plenty of black bear sign, but never a bear in the wild.

          I don't consider this bear country though, when I read threads about camping in bear country. I always figure folks are talking brown bear, just based on my experience..... er is that lack of experience..... with bears.
          I'm more concerned with a rabid raccoon digging through the food.... or snakes, or now that I'm in FL, scorpions.........

        • jblake47
          jblake47 commented
          Editing a comment
          There are grizzlies and black bears. Look for the hump at the shoulders and if you see one, you have a grizzly. If you don't you see the species - black bear. It can be any color from black to tan, even a red-ish blonde color. If you have never seen a bear in the wild, it's good, most blacks will avoid humans if possible. They tend to defend themselves and their cubs, especially if startled. (They didn't see, hear or smell you coming).

          Grizzlies tend to be more territorial and if you back off and leave them alone, you can usually avoid a confrontation. Like the blacks they, too, will defend their cubs.

          While seeing bears in the wild is neat, wearing bells on your boot laces and talking loudly in bear country is often seen as a better option.

          Vigilance is important and watch for them constantly. Last summer I was in Yellowstone and approached a crowd of people looking at a black bear. When my wife noticed I wasn't looking in the right direction, she poked me and then pointed out the black bear in the woods. I said it was good for her to keep on eye on it, but for a while I was going to keep an eye on the grizzly off in another direction.

          Qwazse: I too would keep a careful eyeful when standing in the middle of a bear's kitchen stealing their food!
          Last edited by jblake47; 07-15-2013, 02:39 PM. Reason: Picking berries??????

        • qwazse
          qwazse commented
          Editing a comment
          My buddy just dove in to the only ripe patch of blueberries on the trail. I told him, "I'll stay on the high ground, while you enjoy yourself 'cause if this is the only shelf, someone else will be itching to raid the cupboard." Sure enough, I found a dried puddle with a complete set of fresh prints. (Wished I had plaster to make a cast.) I guessed it would have stood 4-6' high. On our hike back down, my buddy was a little ahead when he saw her. By the time I caught up to him, she was gone.

      • #5
        Whenever I have been in bear country, my rule of thumb is: no scents that are associated with human habitation other than human scent are tolerated. Wereas a bear can tell human scent, it tends to be wary and out of curiosity may check you out but leave it at that. You have given the bear notice that humans are in the area (depending on the wind of course). However, if there is another scent that is more attractive, it may wish to check it out further. Food for example can overcome the human scent if it's hungry enough to push the issue. Therefore I would refrain from any scent that could attract a bear enough to overcome its fear of humans. Something that smells like food, I would shy away from big time. One needs food and thus a bear bag of those scents are kept away from camp high off the ground in a bear bag. That's why even the clothing used while cooking is included in the bag.

        Also scents that can carry further or overcome the human scent should be also be avoided. If it smells berries strong enough to cover over the human scent, his ability to smell human is overwhelmed and his wariness to humans will not kick in. If you only smell of strawberries, you are now food, not a human. If a bear wishes to raid a camp site and there is no human scent to ward him off and all he can smell is food it doesn't bode well for the campsite.

        Antiperspirants that reduce human sweat but not change the scent does the job without changing the human scent is all I ever use in the back country. While the scent is rather rank for all the members in the party, it still gives bears notice of your presence. Reduce that or cover it up with other scents and it could pose a problem. In all seriousness, the more you "smell" like human, the further the scent will travel and give warning to the bear that humans are nearby. If you reduce that or cover it up, your ability to startle or lure a bear to food is increased.

        You will need a ton of bear spray if you plan on having a huge bacon crusted breakfast and clean up with all the fruity soaps and shampoos you can haul and then set out on the trail quietly into a prevailing wind. Good luck, I hope your aim is good. You've just created a perfect storm. (I hope your prevailing wind isn't very strong or you're going to find out how powerful bear spray really is, too!)


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        • Twocubdad
          Twocubdad commented
          Editing a comment
          So no bacon scented shampoo?

        • King Ding Dong
          King Ding Dong commented
          Editing a comment
          Certainly that cucumber scented crap would turn a bears stomach.

        • jblake47
          jblake47 commented
          Editing a comment
          If you blast the bear spray into the wind, it'll raise havoc with the cleanliness of your shoes regardless of what you ate in the morning.

      • #6
        I came into this thread intending to suggest dry shampoo (homemade or commercial) and hats. Good to find that my sensitivity to most synthetic scents is protecting me from bears.

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        • #7
          Who shampoos when camping anyway ?

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          • qwazse
            qwazse commented
            Editing a comment
            Who shampoos? Not these folks: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_poo

          • King Ding Dong
            King Ding Dong commented
            Editing a comment
            Sounds like I am mostly a No Poo guy. I just rinse my hair well every shower. I will shampoo if it gets legitimately dirty like from lake water or an oil change malfunction with my car. Drywall sanding is another.

            Bring it on Bears !

        • #8
          It depends entirely on where you are camping. If you are camping in a developed campground in a state or national park, or even some of the NFS camp grounds, then it doesn't matter what you use. Feel free to smell as fruity as you like because the kid in the next campsite who fell asleep with marshmallow in his hair and evidence of s'mores on his face is going to be far more tantalizing than any smell your shampoo gives off.

          If you are using undeveloped campsites on state, federal, or BLM land, it probably doesn't matter much there either as long as you are using the usual bear precautions and not storing anything "smelly" near where you sleep.

          If you are in the backcountry, bears probably won't be accustomed to the smell of people anyway, so shampoo shouldn't be on the menu regardless of what it smells like. If you are backcountry hiking in a wilderness area or in remote areas of our National Parks, check with the local backcountry office to see what if any recommendation they have. Some only allow biodegradable camp soap, others don't allow soap in the water at all, in which case, practice making your braids, or buns now.

          Re: other women's Hygiene. If you are menstruating and you are in a "pack-it-in pack-it-out" area, make sure you have LOTS of plastic baggies. If you are in the Backcountry or in an area where bears are making a nuisance of themselves, make sure your companions know you are on the rag and have your pack hung far away for everyone else's.

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          • #9
            I don't think I would rely on developed/undeveloped/back country formula. I have camped in an established scout summer camp and a bear walked right through the middle checking it out. It found nothing so that's okay. However, if one were to rely on the "developed" factor, it could have been a problem. As far as the human scent in that situation, it didn't deter the bear one bit.

            In our area another scout camp, one of the boys was killed while eating snacks in his tent in the middle of the afternoon. After the bear leaned on the tent and dropped it, the boy panicked and he struggled and the bear killed him, not realizing it was human.

            Being over-cautious even in a well developed area is still a good thing.

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            • #10

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              • packsaddle
                packsaddle commented
                Editing a comment
                And if that scat smells like scented soap and contains a bunch of hair ties, you should probably head back to the car.

            • #11
              Okay, a short story: A friend of mine who grew up in Africa whose parents were missionaries, married a gal from the US. For a honeymoon they went to Africa so she could see where he grew up. One morning, while camping, she got up to do her morning thing and soon he was awakened by her screaming. She was standing on a large rock looking at a pride of lions a few hundred feet away. He told her to stand QUIETLY. The lions just laid there and were not at all interested in her. Finally he said she could get down and come back to camp. The lions hadn't moved one bit. She climbed down and came back to camp and asked why she had to stand there so long and finally came back and the lions didn't do a thing. He said, because the cape buffalo standing behind her finally moved off. He was a greater threat than the lions.

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